The Life and Death of Democracy (Hardcover)
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393058352, 958pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
In the grand tradition of Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers comes this provocative history of world democracy, which begins with the ancient Myceans and ends in our fractious present. Overturning long-cherished notions, John Keane poses challenging questions: Did democracy actually begin in ancient Greece or earlier in Mesopotamia? Do the American and British systems actually live up to their democratic ideals? Why is there a bad moon rising over the world's democracies? Written by a leading political theorist, this book presents readers with a counterintuitive look at democracy's past, present, and future, which Keane argues lies not in the West but in the turbulent democracies of the East, especially in India. Avoiding the triumphalism of global democracy's most boisterous pundits, Keane cautions that democracy today is more fragile than ever and that, unless major corrective measures are taken, we may be sleepwalking our way into even deeper trouble.